The modern definition of science could be stated that it is a systematic study of the natural world through the scientific method.  This means creating a hypothesis and testing it to determine the extent to which it can explain measurement results.   A common notion is that science facts are truth but in reality, not everybody in society (or even science) really agrees about the meaning of truth.  As a matter of observation, it should be said that it does not matter whether you believe gravity is real or agree with the laws of thermodynamics or electrodynamics.  In science, these will be true whether you agree with them or not, they will be true whether you know about them or not.  A similar perspective could be applied to historical events.

Many people believe that truth is relative, that truth is different for different people, that it depends on how you see things.  Others see truth as objective, that the truth does not depend on us or our perspective.  There is little doubt that many people will disagree with many others about the nature of truth but in science, truth is determined by measurement and observation.  The measurement is considered truth and the models we use to account for observations are considered scientific to the extent that they can explain measurements.

All science "facts" are really just measurement results which can be explained using some form of physical, natural, mechanical models. One often overlooked aspect of science, truth and fact comes in the realm of basic history where archaeology can play a very important role.  I invite you to consider how you can know anything you think happened in history to be actual real events which have occurred.  In a laboratory, the scientist is often present from the beginning of the experiment to the end and so is able to attest to all history relevant to the experiment and its results.  Events more general such as something last year, last decade, last century, millennium or whatever, how can anyone know whether any historical event had actually occurred?  How can anyone for that matter know what truly happened at any time in history that they had not directly witnessed?

Socrates, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Napoleon, King George, Shakespeare or even Abraham Lincoln, how can we know?  A legal argument would basically require only the documented account of two or more witnesses, this generally suffices to establish the truth of most modern historical occurrences.  What tends to be even more convincing and perhaps the very final say in any matter of historical fact is whether forensic measurements agree with the witnesses.  Archaeology is a very powerful tool and when applied to historical investigating and can be rather conclusive.  This is not to say that scientists or witnesses can never be wrong but regarding what we or historians accept as historical fact is worth considering from a scientific perspective.

Can a history book written today give an accurate account of early colonial America, how about further back, and if so, how far back?  Most scientists would agree that if early documentation of historical events are available and that they agree with what can be verified through archaeology, then this establishes a reliable historical record.  Whether these are hieroglyphs, cuneiform tablets, papyri, simple paper or other written documents, if these give accounts of cities, prominent rulers and titles and cultural practices which can be corroborated with actual ruins and ancient burial findings, this is sufficient.

Whether the history in question is North America, ancient Egypt, Greece, China, India or even the bible, written witness accounts corroborated with the archaeological record is generally sufficient for the scientific method to arrive at a conclusion of historical fact.  The entire field of modern forensics and archaeology have helped us to corroborate a litany of historical events all over the world and throughout the entire record of civilization.  Hats off to those using the scientific method in order to establish the validity of historical events.